There is always talk about the Federal Government being too big. One reason is that the US has so much that is diverse and to get into the details there is a need to have a breakdown in agencies that are more specific to any sector. In the A list of Federal Agencies, there are 34 agencies. Agencies are cogs in the wheel of government, without some of those cogs, government wouldn't function as well. It is the why of government agencies. :) America is a huge population and land mass with any interests, it takes a lot of agencies to maintain and ensure the smooth flow of government business.
Though there has been a lot of contraction and those that overlapped too much were combined, often it is found that it wasn't too easy to combine or the result would be an increase workload that wouldn't be productive in the long run. Americans Expect to find people with answers thus the Federal agencies were started. It's called Accountability. :)
The AbilityOne Commission creates job opportunities for people who are blind or have other significant disabilities in the manufacture and delivery of products and services to the Federal Government.
Website: U.S. AbilityOne Commission
Contact via the Web:
Contact the U.S. AbilityOne Commission
1421 Jefferson Davis Highway
Jefferson Plaza 2, Suite 10800
Phone Number: 703-603-7740
The Access Board is an independent federal agency devoted to accessibility for people with disabilities. The Board develops and maintains design criteria for the built environment, transit vehicles, telecommunications equipment, and for electronic and information technology.
U.S. Access Board
Contact via the Web:
Contact the U.S. Access Board
File an Accessibility Complaint
Map and Directions
1331 F Street, NW
Phone Number: 202-272-0080
TTY: 202-272-0082 800-993-2822
Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
Contact via the Web:
Contact the Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Welfare)
Report Child Abuse and Neglect
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Head Start Program Locator
Child Support Enforcement in Your State
370 L'Enfant Promenade, SW
Toll-free: 1-888-289-8442 (Fraud Alert Hotline)
The ACF funds state, territory, local, and tribal organizations to provide family assistance (welfare), child support, child care, Head Start, child welfare, and other programs relating to children and families.
The following is a basic synopsis of a Federal Agency from Wikipedia. (yes there is some good resource information on Wiki)
The Congress and President of the United States delegate specific authority to government agencies to regulate the complex facets of the modern American federal state. Also, most of the 50 U.S. states have created similar government agencies.
The term "government agency" or "administrative agency" usually applies to one of the independent agencies of the United States government, which exercise some degree of independence from the President's control. Although the heads of independent agencies are often appointed by the President, they can usually be removed only for cause. The heads of independent agencies work together in groups, such as a commission, board or council. Independent agencies often function as miniature versions of the tripartite federal government with the authority to legislate (through the issuing, or "promulgation" of regulations), to adjudicate disputes, and to enforce agency regulations (through enforcement personnel). Examples of independent agencies include the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), Federal Reserve Board, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
A broader definition of the term "government agency" also means the United States federal executive departments that include the President's cabinet-level departments, and their sub-units. Examples of these agencies include the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which is a bureau of the Department of the Treasury.
Most federal agencies are created by Congress through statutes called "enabling acts" which define the scope of an agency's authority. Because the Constitution does not expressly mention federal agencies (as it does the three branches), some commentators have called agencies the "headless fourth branch" of the federal government. However, most independent agencies are technically part of the executive branch, with a few located in the legislative branch of government. By enacting the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in 1946, Congress established some means to oversee government agency action. The APA established uniform administrative law procedures for a federal agency's promulgation of rules, and adjudication of claims. The APA also sets forth the process for judicial review of agency action
Since the American Public also not only expects but demands that our government and all it's agencies be transparent, ie allow access where possible to records, the definition of 'record' had to be upgraded also. One of the better explanations for the upgrade is from Dr Patricia C. Franks, CRM. It is a PDF file and can be accessed here
Here are a few excerpts from the PDF file:
On January 21, 2009, his second day in office,
President Obama issued a memorandum that
instructed executive departments and agencies to
use “innovative tools, methods, and systems to
cooperate among themselves, across all levels of
Government, and with nonprofit organizations, businesses,
and individuals in the private sector.”
This new media brings with it new challenges—
especially for records managers struggling to apply
existing records management laws and regulations
to records created in a social media world. A series
of best practices are included in Appendix II to assist
agency employees responsible for records management,
social media, compliance, information technology,
human resources, and Web/social media
Historical documents today are more ephemeral,
many existing only in electronic form. How can we
ensure that historians will have access, for example,
to the 2010 YouTube interview with President
Obama* or that records related to federal agencies’
deployment of social media to aid the January 2010
Haitian earthquake relief efforts don’t disappear, literally,
into thin air?**
Beginning in 1934, with the establishment of the
National Archives, Congress has taken steps to
ensure that significant government documents are
identified, preserved, and managed in a way that
makes them readily accessible to the public. The
Presidential Records Act (PRA) of 1978 was passed
in the wake of the controversy over President
Nixon’s records after he resigned the presidency in
August 1973. The PRA made all presidential records
created or received by the president or members of
his staff after January 20, 1981, the property of the
.......Note the National Archives website is here
Why Records Management?
The knowledge—and the history—of government
agencies is often buried in the many memos, files,
letters, forms, and other records they keep. This
can range from the case files of the FBI, to the land
records kept by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, to completed
census forms kept by the Census Bureau.
Records contain information valuable to an agency
as well as to the public. Managing the vast holdings
of records in the federal government is a formidable
task, especially since some may be of enduring
historical value. Those with historical value are
transferred to the National Archives and Records
Administration (NARA) to be permanently saved.
Still, those with only temporary value are important
for agencies to be able to conduct their business.
Applications for resident status by immigrants, completed
tax forms, and NASA’s satellite data are all
critical to completing agency missions and need to
be protected and filed. These records are increasingly
electronic in nature.
Public access to records also serves as an important
accountability check on government operations.
As a result, Congress has directed both NARA and
individual agencies to develop records management
systems. The Environmental Protection Agency
has developed a “top ten” list for its employees as
to why effective records management is essential:
1. To control the creation and growth of records
2. To reduce operating costs
3. To improve efficiency and productivity
4. To assimilate new records management
5. To ensure regulatory compliance
6. To minimize litigation risks
7. To safeguard vital information
8. To support better management decision making
9. To preserve corporate memory
10. To foster professionalism in running the business
Records management programs are not just a
government requirement. All large private sector
companies also have developed their own policies
and procedures. In fact, there is an international
standard for effective records management, ISO
15489.1, which provides guidance on managing
records for organizations in both the private and
A larger question emerges from all of this. The cost of maintaining and preserving all the information. How deep into the social media sectors is information needed to be preserved? Do we want blogs, wikis and social networking sites also captured, managed and preserved? In other words, every word, every sentence, every conversation that has to do with the government or between government workers/agencies...keyed to a government server. For instance, an email to a Federal worker to report to a specific area for work.
The following is a listing of some of the media sources that government employees use:
As hi-tech develops, the list will expand and the cost to maintain and preserve will also go up. The most import aspect is cyber security with all of the records. A malicious hacker could disassemble or co-op years of data if there wasn't security.
We don't consider the cost very often until taxes are raised to pay for all of the services, on the other hand we expect information. The two often collide. :)